P.B. Dye was busy in the Bávaro area of Punta Cana; he refashioned Bávaro's oldest layout in 2010 – Lakes Barceló – having completed an original design a little further up the coast for the Iberostar Bávaro hotel the previous year. PB also fashioned La Cana in 2001, the first course at Punta Cana. PB has shaped the golfing scene at Punta Cana in the east almost as significantly as his late father determined the golfing landscape at La Romana in the south.
There’s a veritable plethora of golf courses from which to choose along Punta Cana's relatively short stretch of coastline. Between Punta Espada, the highly ranked Jack Nicklaus layout at Cap Cana in the southeast, to Hard Rock Cana Bay (another Nicklaus Design) to the northwest, you’ll find PB’s layout at the Iberostar Bávaro, which is set immediately adjacent to the Nick Price-designed course at Punta Blanca.
Located a little way inland from the Iberostar hotel complex, the course was cleverly shaped from a flat, rock-strewn landscape into an interesting Caribbean golfing challenge where lakes, streams and sandy waste areas combine to keep visitors and hotel guests on their toes. Golfers who want to be challenged can use the longest of the four tee boxes where the layout stretches to almost 6,800 yards.
An unusual starfish-shaped island green complex, surrounded by sand (rather than water) from tee to green, appears at the par three 8th. This hole will certainly remain etched in the memory bank and the green’s star shape (the hotel chain's logo) is a reminder, in case you needed one, that you’re playing an Iberostar resort course.
I have been visiting this course since it opened and am so happy that the hundreds of thousands of trees and shrubs that were planted have all matured to be a beautiful place to play golf. Few of the tress comeinto play and it requires a very poor shot to find any water hazard. The course is normally maintained in wonderful condition but today there was evidence of some heavy specific poisoning of bad grasses on the fairways and everything was not quite pristine as normal ..but still far better condition than other Dominican courses. It is not a difficult course with very few long irons to the greens but it is a delight to play because of the condition , the profusion of so many flowering trees and ducks and water fowl squealing. A most welcoming staff also.
Renowned architect P.B Dye turned a relatively flat piece of land into a world class test of golf for players of all skill levels. Dye dug down and mounded the dirt on either side of the fairways so most errand shots will filter back into play, but the swales and mounding will surely keep you off balance.
There are 105 white quartz sand bunkers and the course is seeded with salt water tolerant ‘Supreme Paspalum’ turfgrass. The conditioning here is great, and the putting surfaces have subtle breaks.
Red bougainvillea line the wide fairways that allow for plenty of room off the tee to spray the ball. However, in typical P.B. design style the danger lurks around the greens.
The 3rd green is reminiscent of what you are in for with a natural cenote cave on the right and water on the left of this narrow green. You will not get much roll or bounce on the first cut of rough because the “snatch grass”, as I like to call it, is not long but very thick.
A word to the wise. Be careful on your approach to the 9th hole since the front right bunker can swallow a human and water guards the left side.
#10 and 14 are the signature holes. The 10th features a waterfall adjacent to the green with a river that flows into a lake bordering the entire right side of the fairway. With the prevailing winds off the sea, this hole plays much short then it looks. #14 is a long par 5 where your approach shot will make your knees knock because the stone-wall pond in front.
#16 is a short par 3 entirely over water. Definitely one of my favourites probably because it was my only birdie of the day.
There is a full practice facility that includes a driving range, putting green, sand bunkers and V1 golf swing video analysis.